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PERCEIVED ADEQUACY OF OFFICE TECHNOLOGY CONTENTS IN BUSINESS EDUCATION PROGRAMME OF UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH-EAST AND SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA

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  • NGN 3000

Background to the Study

Business education has remained an invaluable academic programme in tertiary institutions in Nigeria and beyond. It is a programme designed to empower students with educational and business competencies needed to effectively cope with the challenges in the world of work. According to Okoye and Umezuluike (2014), business education is part of vocational education programme which inculcates in individuals business competencies, skills, attitudes, knowledge and understanding necessary to perform and progress effectively in the business world. As a designed programme of instruction, it prepares people for jobs requiring specialized training. Business education according to Osuala (2004) is a programme of instruction which consists of two parts: (i) a vocational education programme for office career through initial, refresher and upgrading education leading to employability and advancement in the office occupations and (ii) general education – a programme to provide students with information and competencies needed by all in managing personal business affairs and in using the services of the business world. The objectives of business education programme in universities according to Soneye (2015) can be summarized thus:  To produce well qualified and competent graduates in business subjects who will be able to teach business subjects in secondary schools and other related educational institutions 2  To produce business teachers who will be able to inculcate the vocational aspects of business education in society.  To produce business teachers who will be involved in the much desired revolution of vocational development right from the primary and secondary schools  To equip graduates with the skills that will enable them to engage in a life of work in the office as well as self-employment Puri (2016) added that irrespective of the level, business education is aimed at providing training that will equip its recipients with business skills for optimal performance in the work place. As a programme of study, business education courses are offered in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education while the secretarial option is offered in polytechnics as office technology and management (OTM). The office technology and management programme came into being in 2004 after the review of the old secretarial studies curriculum for producing office workers in Nigeria. The review was taken with the view to produce graduates who could be efficient in management roles and have the confidence and practical skills necessary to put theory into action. This new Office Technology and Management programme has been described as having apparent advantages because of UNESCO assistance during the review. This introduced international perspectives to the curriculum and enabled it to benefit from some of the best practices around the world particularly, the office technology component which includes the convergence of computer, telecommunication, internet and information and communication competencies that are lacking in the various curricula for producing office workers in Nigeria. 3 Since business education programme in universities is designed to produce individuals who upon graduation are to implement the office technology contents of OTM curriculum, it is expected that these office technology contents in OTM curriculum be adequately reflected in university business education curriculum to enable its graduates perform effectively as OTM lecturers in the present dynamic age of technology. Adequacy of contents in this context means to be good enough in quality and in quantity. The quantity and quality of input in anything or system determine the output. In the same vein, if the office technology contents of business education programme in universities are adequate or good enough in quality and quantity, it will be fit and adequate for producing qualified and competent OTM lecturers. Therefore, to determine the adequacy of the office technology contents in business education programme of universities, it is imperative to examine the contents, particularly the office technology aspect as perceived by business educators. Office technology in this usage implies the use of computer system, software and networks for processing, distribution and communicating data and information in an organization. Fadare (2014) grouped office technology components into a variety of equipment, software and systems while Oguejiofor and Nwogu (2014) classified office technology into four groups namely: communication, telecommunication, reprography and micrography. For the purpose of this study, the components or contents of office technology are grouped in clusters of: computer technology, telecommunication technology, multimedia technology, networking technology and desktop publishing technology. Computer is an electronic device that receives, stores, processes and retrieves information. Computer technology focuses on the use of technological facilities for 4 managing and disseminating information. Computer technology is important in business education programme in universities because it exposes students to the use of various office applications such as Microsoft Word, MS Excel, MS Power Point and MS Access for effective work performance. Akudolu and Olibie (2007) noted that one of the major reforms needed in teacher education in Nigeria has to do with exposing teachers to and facilitating their acquisition of computer technology competencies. Telecommunication technology also considered as electronic communication technology is a component of office technology which involves the transmission of information over long distances, often through electronic aids. It is the technology of sending signals, images and messages over long distances by radio, telephone, television satellite, and internet. The use of electronic communication in teaching enables the teacher to impact knowledge and communication over a long distance. It also helps to improve the quality of classroom teaching. Multimedia technology according to Nweke (2013) are those technological facilities that combine five basic types of media into learning environment, such as text, video, sound, graphic and animation thus providing a powerful teaching learning environment. Multimedia technology contents provide students with the technical steps needed to produce multimedia document, encourage deep reflective thinking and empower students to create and design rather than absorbing presentations created. Ohakwe (2008) remarked that with multimedia technology, a teacher can create educational presentation that can add variety and vitality to teaching thus, making it refreshingly new, interesting, real, persuasive and lasting in the memories of learners. Similarly, Ndukwe (2005) noted that presentation created with 5 multimedia technology can add audio and visual effects making them look professional or flashy to meet high standard of presentation. Networking technology according to Akintola (2005) is the interconnection of two or more computer system with data communication devices. It consists of communication software, computer systems and network cable. Akintola noted further that networking reduces duplication of computer resources thus enabling the scarce resources to be shared among computer system; allows the sharing of files, application, software products, printer, disk space, modem and e-mail facilities. Desktop publishing technology exposes students to the rudiments of using publication software such as Microsoft Publisher, Corel Draw and other graphic application programs effectively and efficiently in the office. Okoro and Okoro (2009) asserted that the contents of desktop publishing include among others; ability to identify and use documents; produce a simple publication; set up page size/orientation and margins of a flier; create quality and attractive text area/text frame; and so on. Similarly, Negron (2007) maintained that the use of desktop publishing software like MS Publisher is more flexible in handling text, graphics and even tables since all are independent elements. Negron noted further that all that is required is precisely maneuvering and positioning of these elements that enable complicated layout to be achieved in a professional manner. Therefore, it is important to examine the adequacy of these contents in business education programme of universities. Since business educators are assumed as experts in matters of business education programme, it is also imperative to determine the adequacy of 6 the office technology contents in business education programme as perceived by business educators in universities in south-south and south-east Nigeria. Perception according to Joseph (2012) refers to a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment. It includes all those processes by which an individual receives information about his environment—seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. Dagnew (2016) observed that educators’ perceptions have an enormous effect on quality of education and successful implementation of quality education in schools. The author maintained that understanding the ways in which educators perceive educational contents helps to identify points of intervention to improve the effectiveness and success of educational programme. Understanding teachers’ perspectives on adequacy of educational contents is particularly important because they are the professionals primarily responsible for interpreting and implementing educational programme. Consequently, in conducting the study on perceived adequacy of office technology contents in business education programme of universities, the findings are expected to have practical implication for quality business education programme in universities and successful implementation of office technology and management programme in polytechnics in Nigeria. Business educators in universities differ in terms of educational qualification and years of teaching experience. Some of them have masters’ degree as their highest educational qualification while others have doctorate degree; some have years of teaching experience more than others. It is expected that these variables may influence the rating of business educators on the adequacy of the office technology contents in business education 7 programme in universities in south-south and south-east Nigeria. Hence, the significant level of influence of these variables was determined in the study. In a nutshell, the relevance of office technology contents of business education programme of universities cannot be overemphasized. It will determine whether the products of business education programme of universities will be competent enough to implement the contents of office technology and management programme of polytechnics. Hence, the need to determine the perceived adequacy of office technology contents in business education programme of universities in Nigeria.




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